Iran has imposed sanctions on the US ambassador to Yemen a day after President Donald Trump's administration blacklisted Tehran's envoy to the Houthi-led government based in the capital Sanaa.
On Tuesday the US Treasury imposed terrorism sanctions on Iranian Ambassador Hasan Irlu, describing him as an official of Iran's elite Quds Force, in a move seen as part of US attempts to hinder the growing influence of Iran in Yemen. The Trump administration has also suggested that the Houthi movement may be added to its terrorist list.
Irlu yesterday tweeted his reaction to the news by stating: "I thank the gambler Trump, who in the last days of his presidency, insists on showing the true face of the US government. Of course, towards the goal of freeing the nations of the region from Zionism & the US, We are not afraid of sanctions and martyrdom, but we are proud of it."
بیانیه وزارت امور خارجه جمهوری اسلامی ایران در خصوص تحریم کریستوفر هنزل سفیر ایالات متحده آمریکا در یمن pic.twitter.com/qfFy3SnweE
— 🇮🇷 وزارت امور خارجه (@IRIMFA) December 9, 2020
However, in response to the blacklisting of its diplomat, the Iranian Foreign Ministry has imposed its own sanctions on US envoy Christopher Henzel over his "pivotal role in the occurrence of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen" and noted that the crisis is "the biggest tragedy of the century" which had been caused by the US-backed, Saudi-led coalition.
According to the Foreign Ministry, Henzel had an "effective participation" in financing and arming the coalition and violated human rights of the people of Yemen through imposing and enforcing sanctions.
Henzel had earlier this month made a surprise visit to the eastern Yemeni province of Al-Mahra to call for the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement between the internationally-recognised Yemeni government and the UAE-backed separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC). His visit was condemned by the Sanaa-based government and is seen as a potential prelude to the arrival of US forces.